Well, my birthday involved Sister Sebald making me a cake (a battered Mars bar) and buying me a secret stash of mittens and German cookies that taste like graham crackers with chocolate frosting :) And then we went to see Noreen, a less-active lady, who threw together a birthday party for me, and THEN we had a third party at the Hamiltons where I pulled a birthday cracker and got an emergency sewing kit that he ended up using to fix Sis. Sebald's boot. Happy days for all! Here's who we've been teaching:
No new investigators yet, but we've been working with Noreen and her 22 year old friend Justine, also less-active. She and I were friends in a previous life, and I guess she just didn't mesh with the previous sisters. It's so cool to see that the Lord puts you where you need to be exactly when you need to be there. I'm grateful for the opportunity to teach these sisters--we've also got Aleks and Karolina, mum and daughter baptized in June and September. They're so solid. And Chris! That was delightful in every way. He's schooling us on the priesthood and he's well excited to become an elder, probably at Ward Conference.
The ward is fantastic. It's very friendly and family oriented, and it's really nice to be in a streamlined chapel again, It was weird not to teach Gospel Principles, but I think I would like to get that up and running again so our less-actives have a place to go (Gospel Doctrine often degenerates into weird topics that are fun for longtime members but not conducive to building testimonies of new members). Our recent converts even have callings! It's awesome!
Since I'd been singing really loud in Jersey (trying to be a human metronome so we don't take ten minutes to sing a sacrament hymn) everyone asked me to sing in the choir afterwards, and then I got asked to see Prelude music next week AND asked to speak on reverence as well as introduce myself...crazy! But I'm excited to serve here and help the members feel like they are contributing to missionary work.
Speaking of which, the 40 day fast is going just swimmingly. Since Sister Sebald and I have gotten together (starting Thursday) we've taught seven lessons already. (The average a week here is three.) It's always really cool to find people who are friends with the Hamiltons or the youth or someone else already a long time member...that helps them stay in the church for real, because they have a point of reference. I'm grateful for people brave enough to say they are members to their friends.
It's so fun to hear from home! Snow at last! Everyone here is saying the snow is belated and the weather has been fantastic since I arrived, so I'm hoping it'll stay that way...shame about Howard's call, but I'm so pleased he won't have to be in the MTC for 3 months. I was struggling after two weeks (you get trunky to leave, especially after our knocking and tracting experiences). Brazilian Portuguese is the stuff on all the Church DVDs, like the Restoration. If you'd like, stick the sound and the subtitles on to get a feel for how things are pronounced. That was really fun for me and Sister Christensen to do. I know a few words and phrases now, and that helps with speaking to natives on the street.
Anyways, I have so much more to do! Hopefully we will find some new investigators this week and I'll be able to report back.